Archive for the “Learning and Teaching” Category

I am at the GAFE (Google Apps for Education) Summit in ChCh at the moment.  Thoughts prompted already ….

Adam Noir from Google is doing the opening keynote.  He mentioned the conecpt of "the rising tide lifts all boats".  True to some extent.  I also think about the polar opposite – "don't water the rocks".

rising tide lifts all boats

don't water rocksThe challenge, as always, is finding the happy medium.  We have an obligation to the students of the teachers who are the proverbial rocks to support them to be the best that they can be in the same way as engaging with the frontrunners.  Do we though, need to go at the pace of the slowest runners?  Interesting challenges for school leaders and managers of change.

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ULearn13-e-Tools-_Tools_for_professionals.pdf by gregc5

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Interesting time this afternoon with the crew from the Dunedin branch of Cyclone Computers and Adam Naor from Google.  I have not had a whole lot to do wiht them before but they do seem to offer a more viable option than netbooks.  In my experience netbooks soon become a source of frustration because of the screen size primarily.  The ChromeBooks are certainly fast!  Not the most fantastic build quality …. but hay, for $399 who cares.  


Anne sent me the link to this:


… later this evening.  

Makes the same points Adam did:

  • fast
  • integrated
  • easy
  • have everything you need (most of the time)


Adam did say Google are keen to hear from educators about features in Google Apps we are keen to see.  Did mention merging cells in tables to him (seconded by Dave!).  He mentioned we should see off-line Spreadsheets in the next few weeks.  Heard it here first! 🙂

Chrome extensions for teachers doc HERE


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One of the interesting things visiting the Melbourne schools was the differences in the ways they approached organising 'ownership' of space and students.  The two are related I suppose but I put the slide below together to try and capture what I was seeing as the differences in approaches:

Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 11.12.58 AM

At one end there is the INDIVIDUAL teacher who oversees a home group of students for much of their programme.  They coordinate the pastoral, academic and organisational aspects of their school life within the collaborative space of the MLE that may have over 120 students in it.  They are responsible for all the process things like assessment and reporting, coordination with families and being the person who is 'responsible' for knowing them well.

At the other extreme is a collective responsibility where all teachers in a space hold COLLECTIVE responsibility for 100+ students.  All staff collectively work with students across the group on the needs that are identified.  Groups are fluid and teachers report on the bits of the curriculum they have particular iinsight into for instance.  There are careful mechanisms for collecting and collating achievement and pastoral information.  We saw instance of these in Google Docs and more formal proprietary SMS systems.


Both extremes work.  Both have their strengths and challenges.  It is figuring out where you sit …

Once you have done that it is thinking through ALL the implications:

  • Assessment
  • monitoring
  • organisation
  • reporting to families
  • organisation of teaching materials
  • attendance
  • behaviour management
  • etc, etc, etc

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From the Google blog:

Quickoffice has been a part of the Google family for over a year now and we’ve been focused on making it easier for you to get work done in Drive — no matter what type of document you need to work with. Converting old files to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides is still the easiest way to share and work together, and we’re working every day to make the files you convert look better. But sometimes the people you work with haven’t gone Google yet, so we made the Quickoffice mobile apps free for Google Apps for Business customers. And today we’re making Quickoffice available for free to everyone: students, businesses, nonprofits, governments, consumers and anyone with a Google Account.

via Official Enterprise Blog: Freeing Quickoffice for everyone.

VERY handy for those who work across platforms and operating systems.  


While we’re on the topic of free stuff, if you sign in to your Google Account from the new Quickoffice app for Android or iOS by September 26, 2013, an extra 10GB of Google Drive storage will be added to your account for two years (look for it in the next few weeks.)

…. and there is no such thing as to much free online storage!

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Just looking back over some of my notes from Melbourne MLE tour with CORE Education last week.  I am trying to pull some ideas together to mke full sense of the full-on week and all that I have seen and heard.  It was a fabulous learning experience and I have a million thoughts and wonderings floating in my head I need to get lined up in a way that they form a cohesive pattern …. getting there but a way to go.  I am posting below a reflection from on the plane on the way over by way of a frame for later posts:


I have been doing some reading on the plane over to Melbourne from different research about the so called 'modern learning environment'. 

Open-plan learning spaces, with the pedagogy to match, are driving learning innovation in New Zealand schools.
The new ‘hubs’ thrive on increased collaboration between teachers.

One of the interesting things is the difference between the MLE and the 'open plan' movement of the 1960's and 70's.  There is quite a lot of thinking about how the current movement is different.  The MLE is the congruence between what we know about the influences of buildings and space on learning and what we can now achieve in the physical construction of acoustically, energy and light efficient buildings; brain research and what we know about learning; collaborative practice and what we know about effective pedagogy and teacher professional learning; what we know about effective learning and how essential full engagement with students and communities is; and what we know about the impact of technology on todays students and how it is simply an integral part of their lives.

The intersection of these things is the space that an MLE sits in.  Where all the factors come together and the personalised mix is 'fit-for-purpose' for the students, community and staff of a particular school.  A key part of this seems to me to be clarity around PURPOSE.  The WHY.  What is it that we are actually aiming to achieve?  What does success look like in a school if you have the students for the full five, six or eight years?  What do they 'look like'.  What knowledge, skills, attitudes and personal values has the school supported them to build into their character?  What kind of person are they?  What beliefs do they have about where they fit in society and the agency they ave to cat and have a positive influence on the world around them?  This graduate profile is a key component of the effective implementation of the NZC and also has been a central focus for quite a bit of the work I have been doing in the Blended eLearning programme over the past two years.  

Lots of random thoughts floating but keen to see where the congruences above align with the graduate profile in the espoused philosophies and the practices.   It will be interesting to see where this fits within the schools we will visit over the next week.  Part of the real value for me is also in travelling with others on this journey.  Having the perspectives and understandings of the group, as well as Derek and Julia to draw upon is going to magnify the depth I am exploring this to as well.

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Man, it has been a wee while since I have put anything on here!

I am currently in the Koru Club with Derek Wenmoth form CORE Education en-route to Melbourne for the CORE Education MLE (modern learning environments) Tour. One of the really fun parts of my current role in the Blended eLearning Programme has been working alongside Derek with two schools involved in the rebuild programme in ChCh. The physical spaces that schools are building are radically different, but more importantly the head space and pedagogical approach is too. It is a privilege to walk alongside schools as they work out what it is all gong to look like for them! This tour is very much part for the learning for me to be able to provide the best support for them.

Julia Atkin is also supporting the tour and there are 15 of us in total from around NZ.

Bring it on!

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Thanks Jane for sharing this.  

The video is a short, provocative but readily accessable watch.  Only 5min or so long with a load of content:

The report itself from here goes in to more detail and again has a content well worth reading.  Some HUGE brains involved in puting this report together!


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